Stephanopoulos’ candid remarks about Biden post-interview ignites firestorm at ABC

ABC News reportedly threatened to pull host George Stephanopoulos off the air after he privately dissed President Joe Biden.

While wandering the streets of New York City in his workout clothes this Tuesday, Stephanopoulos was asked by a camera-equipped passerby, “Do you think Biden should step down?”

“I don’t think he can serve four more years,” the ABC News host replied.

Watch:

(Video Credit: TMZ)

The now-viral remarks prompted an outpouring of critical news stories, with the New York Times reporting that “[n]ews anchors and reporters typically avoid voicing their opinions about the topics and people they cover.”

This coverage in turn led to Stephanopoulos backtracking in an official statement, saying, “Earlier today, I responded to a question from a passerby. I shouldn’t have.”

ABC News also responded.

“George expressed his own point of view and not the position of ABC News,” the network said.

But according to Radar Online, there’s even more to the story.

“The head of ABC News issued George Stephanopoulos a stern warning after he was caught on camera declaring he did not believe embattled President Joe Biden could serve out a second term — and even threatened him with being taken off the air if he didn’t apologize,” the gossip website reported Wednesday.

Debra OConnell is her name, and she reportedly summoned Stephanopoulos to an emergency, “all hands on deck” meeting late Tuesday to address his remarks.

“This was a fully-fledged crisis and it exploded with far-reaching reverberations,” an insider told the outlet.

The insider added that OConnell told Stephanopoulos “in no uncertain terms that he is a newsman who is expected to be objective.”

“She was furious that someone of George’s experience and status would compromise the news division’s impartiality and subject it to unnecessary and embarrassing headlines,” the insider continued.

Stephanopoulos was reportedly told that if he didn’t immediately apologize, he might be taken off as the host of “Good Morning America” and moderator of “This Week.”

“George backed Debra into a corner,” the insider said. “If he did not apologize, how could he continue with his duties at ABC News without the network facing an avalanche of criticism? Even though he backed away from the comment, and attempted to minimize it as a quip, Debra and the top bosses inside the news division know the damage has been done.”

“You can expect the Trump campaign and GOP to seize on this. You can also expect the White House to avoid ABC News moving forward. Biden will never sit down with Stephanopoulos ever again,” they added.

All this comes a few short weeks after the president’s disastrous debate performance against former President Donald Trump:

Recall that after the debate, Stephanopoulos became the first news host to interview Biden about his horrific performance.

“Look, I have a cognitive test every single day,” the president dubiously claimed during the interview. “Every day, I’ve had tests. Everything I do. You know, not only am I campaigning, I’m running the world. And that’s not — it sounds like hyperbole, but we are the central nation of the world.”

During the interview, the president also rejected calls for him to leave the race.

“If the Lord Almighty came down and said, ‘Joe, get out of the race’, I’d get out of the race, but the Lord Almighty’s not coming down,” he said.

Weeks later, the president continues to face growing calls for him to exit the race and let someone younger and more mentally fit and competent replace him on the Democrat ticket.

The latest report from Axios notes that even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has begun “privately signaling” that he’s open to Biden dropping out of the race and being replaced by someone else.

“In public, Schumer has been insistent that he is ‘for Joe,'” the outlet notes. “In private, he’s singing a different tune. Over the last 12 days, Schumer has been listening to donors’ ideas and suggestions about the best way forward for the party, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Vivek Saxena

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